Change text (in text box) styling in Adobe Acrobat 9.0 Mac

It seems to be a bug in Adobe that editing the text styling (color, typeface, bold, italic, size, etc.) in a text box is difficult to do. This is what works for me:

1. Open your PDF in Acrobat. Make sure the Properties Bar is in view (Command-E).

2. Make a text box somewhere and fill it in with some text. Notice that the Properties Bar will let you change properties of the box but not the text inside the box, even if you have selected that text.

3. Save your file and quit Acrobat.

4. Reopen your file. You should be able to double-click on the text box you created, which will select the text within. The Properties Bar should now change to let you style the text. Future saves should let you keep doing this with new text boxes.

I hope this helps someone else; it took me forever to figure it out.

GPS on the Mac: Basecamp transfers and overwriting points

My parents gave me a Garmin eTrex Vista HCx for my birthday this year (thanks Mum and Dad!) and I’ve been using it pretty much nonstop for two weeks. I’ve been getting into geocaching as a way to hone my GPS skills (and have an excuse to ride my bicycle around with my girlfriend), but I’ve been having some issues with waypoint transfers.

The software I’m using for storing and transferring waypoints, tracks, and routes is Basecamp for Mac. It does what it needs to do without too much fuss, which is a good thing. However, I just began dumping a lot of Geocache waypoints into Basecamp and the GPS unit and some weird things happen when points are named the same (“duplicate” points for anyone searching on Google).

I imported a bunch of points from Basecamp to the unit, then I decided to see what would happen if I moved all the points back from the unit to Basecamp. In some cases, I get the unit-truncated name of the point (which is expected, as the unit is designed to only store so many characters of name), but in certain others I get the same name with a “1” appended. I can only assume that doing this multiple times would give me “2” and “3” and so on, but maybe not–I might get “11.”

This only happens with certain names. It turns out that this is because the points are considered different by the computer and the unit–because the note field is truncated as well when the waypoints are uploaded to the unit, so when they get downloaded back to Basecamp, they don’t pass the “whatever’s the same don’t worry about” test.

I’ll need to discover if there is a way to make the info field contain more data, as well as the name field, since it’s better for me to have the name of the Geocache than a string of letters and numbers or a truncated name, and it’s much better to be able to put more than 14 characters in the name field and 30 in the note field.

Searching GSA Publications

If you’re working with older print materials like I am for the moment, you probably realize that citation styles have changed over the years. In particular, what now would be cited as an abstract related to a specific conference volume would previously be cited as an independent article within the journal issue it was first printed.

For example, I have before me the following citation:

Howard, A. D., 1946, Caliche in glacial chronology: Geol. Soc. America Bull., vol. 57, p. 1204.

We’re clued into the fact that this is really an abstract by the single page number, which helps. If you’re not into citing abstracts, especially if abstracts in your field usually don’t contain real data, you could probably skip reading this reference entirely. If it were a more modern abstract (within the last five years or so) I might be inclined to contact the author for a copy of the poster or presentation they gave at whatever meeting this was–but only if I was pretty sure this would be helpful. Unfortunately, this reference is quite a bit older than many working geologists so this option is not open to us.

So let’s say I still want to read this abstract. I could go up to the library (conveniently located in the same building as I am) and track down this volume. The library is closed today for floor-waxing, so that’s out of the picture. The Internet is our last resort, but luckily we have an institutional subscription to the GSA journals (“luckily” because they won’t take my member ID for some reason).

Search — Geological Society of America Bulletin

On this page (for the GSA Bulletin), there are a variety of search fields. Not all of them will help you in this case. If I search for “Howard” in Author I get 26 results, but not what I’m looking for.

Not very helpful. You might be thinking “drat, another bad reference,” but this isn’t so. Since we’re looking for an abstract, we need to do a full-text search, because (and this is what I found out today) GSA abstracts are not stored by title in the database!

The correct field to use in this case is “Text | Abstract | Title,” which is full-text. If I put in “caliche in glacial,” up pops the result I’m looking for:

ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS PRESENTED AT THE DECEMBER MEETING IN CHICAGO, DECEMBER 26–28, 1946 Geological Society of America Bulletin December 1946, v. 57, p. 1173-1302, doi:10.1130/0016-7606(1946)57[1173:AOPPAT]2.0.CO;2
…drift to the northeast indicate that the Wisconsin ice actively erodedonly within an inner zone marginingLake Michigan. CALICHE IN GLACIAL CHRONOLOGY ARTHUR D. HOWARD U. S. Geological Survey, Washington 25, D. C. Studies in northwestern North Dakota and northeastern…

* Abstract
* Full Text (PDF)


Here’s a question for another day and another blogger: which publisher has the best search capabilities and easiest access to past issues?